Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Step in the Box

A very unique situation occurred this past week in a single “A” minor league baseball game that painted a clear picture for me on how many who claim to be Christians live their lives on a daily basis.

In a game between the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones a very rare situation took place. Ralph Henriquez of the Cyclones is a switch hitter and he stepped into the box to face Pat Vinditte of Staten Island who has the unique ability to pitch both right and left handed. This situation produced a humorous at bat as the hitter kept switching from side to side while the pitcher kept switching his glove from hand to hand. This battle took place for over 5 minutes without either player willing to give the advantage to their opponent.

This hilarious situation made me laugh, but also sadly reminded me that this is exactly how so many Christians are living their life. Too many people are hesitant to commit to stepping into the batters box in their relationship with Christ. Many are living their life without committing to Christ and enduring to the end. At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he writes to Timothy in II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This wouldn’t have been possible without Paul first committing to stepping into the box to face trials, persecutions, and all else that his relationship with Christ would present. Are you willing to step into the box? Do you understand what life with Christ means? Stop standing there with one foot in and one foot out. Get in the game!

Brian Conklin
Omaha-Metro FCA

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The End is Near

It seems like so many of the post on this blog have been concerning "fear." I am just blown away how prevelent "fear" is in the sports world and just how misunderstood it really is. Once again, there are two different realms of fear in this world. Fear of worldly things vs. fear of God. In this video, KG and Kobe talk about the fear of the end concerning the NBA finals. This is a huge statement. Fear of losing, fear of winning, or fear of the finals not living up to all it's made out to be? Their fear could be of many things. However, it is clear that they are not refering to the fear of God. And why not? They are right, the end is near. However, I am not talking about the end of a season. but the end of the world. Now is the time to follow Christ. The power that will be displayed in His return will be worthy of fear.

Malachi 3:1-2"Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap."

Brian Conklin Omaha Metro FCA

Monday, June 9, 2008

Be Humble to Max Out!

Recently, FCA-Nebraska hosted the Big Sky Pole Vault camp with Kearney HS(NE) vault coach Bob Talbitzer and vaulting great Pat Manson as our head camp clinicians. Pat is a great friend of mine who happens to still hold the high school American indoor record for vault at 17'6 1/2"! In fact, he vaulted 18' outdoors when he was still in high school. Pat holds the world record for number of consecutive years over 18 feet, having gone that high 22 years in a row!!

Pat attended Kansas University to vault for coaching legend Rick Attig. When he got there, the first thing Coach Attig told him was that if Pat wanted to really max out all of his God-given ability, he would need to change the mechanics to his vaulting technique. Wow, was that ever a blow to the pride in Pat! He's got the national high school record, is one of the best vaulters in the nation at any level right now and coach is telling him his form is not good enough!

But God was working in Pat's life. His best friend from high school had just become a Christian and God was using this friendship to soften and prepare Pat for things to come. Though he didn't know it yet, God was helping Pat begin to understand the importance of humility as the true measure of greatness. 1 Peter 5:6 says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up at the proper time."

Pat humbled himself under God and under the instruction of his coach. He put off the pride of his flesh and put on the humility of Christ in order to learn obedience. And in due time, that obedience paid off. Pat went on to a great collegiate and professional vaulting career and ended with a personal best of 19' 2 1/2". Most importantly, his humble heart came to see his need for Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord. Scripture tells us that God dwells with the humble in heart. Take time today to practice humility by learning to listen to people that God puts in your life like coaches and teachers. He will lift you up in due time!

Chris Bubak - FCA-Nebraska State Director

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

True Greatness

As the NBA finals are right around the corner we will undoubtedly hear the question, “Who will achieve greatness?” The word “greatness” is one of the most overused terms in our society today. We hear all about the “greatness” of Jordan, Bryant, Shaq, Garnett and countless other players. In reality, are any of them truly worthy of the term?

Doing Sports God’s Way is all about greatness. However, to be more specific, it’s about making the name of Christ great in every aspect of our competition. Should this be difficult? You would be crazy to think so. The person we are attempting to make great is the One who walked on water, made the blind man see, made the lame walk, lived a perfectly sinless life and then died for our imperfections only to overcome death three days later. Doing Sports God’s Way isn’t about us. It is only through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do any good.

Next time that you take the court, field, pool, or track, realize that it isn’t about making your name “great.” Let the power of the Holy Spirit compete through you so that His name will be made “great.”

Psalm 47:2, “How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!”

Brian Conklin
Omaha-Metro FCA

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spiritual Wind Sprints

Gassers. Suicides. The County Fair. "On the Line!" These were all terms that my flesh dreaded to hear during my years in competitive athletics. I knew that pain was imminent and unavoidable. I also knew that this physical conditioning was essential for me to achieve my goal of becoming the best athlete I could be.

In order to max out, every athlete must go into strict training. The physical and the mental aspects of any competitive endeavor require a great deal of effort to prepare for. But there's more...what about spiritual conditioning?

In 1 Timothy 4:7,8 the Apostle Paul tells his young disciple Timothy that there is a need to be trained, disciplined, conditioned spiritually. Physical training is only of little value; it's only good for this life. But a spiritual conditioning - spiritual wind sprints - are good both for this life and eternal life.

The spiritual disciplines include prayer, study of God's Word, fellowship with other believers and being a witness of Jesus Christ to those around me and they are crucial to our growth in Christ. They require strict training because they are costly, but they also have a double benefit; holding promise for both this life and the life to come!

In time I learned to accept (even like) gassers. In time I have learned to accept (and love) daily prayer, time in the Word, fellowship and witnessing in order to max out. Will you join me in this spiritual training?

Chris Bubak
FCA-Nebraska State Director